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A Charming Refresh for A Traditional & Bright Primary Bathroom

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Childhood Home Take Two
We took my parents’ old-school primary bathroom down to the studs to give it a fresh new life with charming touches. Photography by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss

I used to think there was nothing more personal than designing your own home. That is, until I started renovating the house I grew up in. Our #childhoodhometaketwo project has brought back so many good childhood memories, and it’s teaching me how to honor my roots even as I bring my present-day style into the design choices. What is it like when your parents are your design clients? As it turns out, it’s a ton of fun. I prepped with an entire lifetime of onboarding, after all—so I was excited to design a bathroom that was perfectly suited to their design taste and current needs. Without further ado, let’s take a peek into the Bluemont Bath.

The Structure

Looking at the blueprint of this space, it was pretty clear to us that we wanted to give ourselves a blank slate, without wiping away its original charm. We didn’t change the footprint of the bathroom at all—the layout actually still worked perfectly. We were able to save a lot of money by keeping plumbing and finishes in the same location.

Some pretty extensive water damage meant that we had to take the entire room down to the studs. We mapped out a plan that modernized the space without creating a stark contrast between this bathroom and the rest of the house’s classic style. Our goal was to update everything without the room feeling too recently updated.

The Colors

We wanted to pay homage to the original blue and yellow color palette, especially since it repeats in the adjoining bedroom. We did that by opting for satin Benjamin Moore paint in Cloud White for the walls and selecting blue accents, brass shelving, and nickel finishes to tie in the original color scheme. Our amazing contractor, Rick Halvorson Construction, added delicate picture frame molding to the walls, which added a traditional touch without feeling dated.

(By the way, if you’re painting soon, make sure you get my guide for the best white paints to use!)

The Materials

We got to use so many incredible materials in this space, but I can’t get enough of the custom flooring. The bathroom is pretty large and open, so I wanted something that would brighten the room and add a modern pattern without making things feel busy. As soon as I saw a photo of this subtle checkerboard pattern, I was sold—and thankfully, so was my mom. It’s a perfect fresh take on a traditional look.

Curtains: The Shade Store, custom | Cabinets: white oak | Counters: Quartz, soapstone replica | Shower Trim: Corian, custom | Floor tile: Daltile, porcelain, custom cut| Shower Wall: Ceramic Tileworks | Shower Floor: Daltile, Carrara matte

But turning our inspiration to reality turned out to be one of the biggest challenges we faced in this space. We wanted to source the flooring materials from a local company we love, but everything we sampled was too big or too high contrast. We finally found two porcelain tile colors that matched our vision perfectly, only to discover they weren’t made in the size we needed.

Our flooring company, Fargo Linoleum, worked with us to come up with a custom, creative solution—we purchased the 12×24 porcelain tiles in the colors satin Stellar Gray and satin Diamond Carrera, and had them custom cut onsite to the 12×12 squares you see pictured here. It was quite the process, but we don’t regret it at all! Personally, I think the floor brings the entire room together.

The soaking tub is gorgeous, but I also can’t get enough of the shower! The combination of our floor and wall tiles made such a uniquely beautiful spot.

We also adore our cabinets from Country Classic Cabinets—they bring the perfect amount of warmth to the space and pair perfectly with the Quartz countertops. The soft white oak cabinets tie in with the yellow oak cabinets in other rooms. They flow right into the home’s original design while also bringing the primary bath into the present.

And those Quartz countertops I mentioned? They look like soapstone, which is one of my favorite materials to use in personal projects. My mother doesn’t necessarily share my fondness for the “patina” that I believe makes natural stone so gorgeous. She also wanted a maintenance-free option. To meet her needs, we sourced a beautiful quartz that would fool most into believing it’s real deal soapstone. My mom and I are both super pleased with the final look.

The Finishes

Brass sconces and nickel RH mirrors created a mixed metals look that is somehow modern and totally classic. I love mixing finishes—there’s something about that contrast that keeps your eye moving throughout the entire space. We opted for brass lighting and accessories while selecting nickel hardware and fixtures.

In the soaking tub alcove, the golden-framed art balance the aged brass open shelving to create visual harmony across the open space. We couldn’t be more pleased with the result! Everything doesn’t need to match for everything to flow.

The Final Details

The most unique piece in this room: the curtains! I spotted William Morris’s Mallow fabric on Etsy and immediately knew it was the perfect fit for this project. When I contacted the seller, though, I found out that the fabric was intended to be sold in much smaller sections. On top of that, it was being discontinued! I was a little heartbroken, but I didn’t give up hope. After a few months, we got a miracle, securing the last bit of this fabric in the length we needed. These curtains are almost certainly the only one of their kind!

Perhaps my favorite detail of all: I’m wearing my mother’s favorite dress from when she was younger in my portrait. It’s about the same age as the original bathroom. She gifted it to me when the project was completed, and when I tried it on, we realized it matched the bathroom perfectly. In a way, I think that’s a wink to the evidence that this bathroom was completely customized to suit her taste—a modern classic, just like the dress that inspired it.

Looking for even more design inspiration?

Check out the full portfolio for the project here, and catch the behind-the-scenes updates throughout the renovation on my dedicated Instagram story highlight here.

Plus, shop the full project here!

Read More of Our Design Tips

Favorites from #PrettyDomesticated
5 Ways to Add Character to a New Home
How to Choose Paint Colors for Your Home Interior

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Chart of paint colors in Bluemont Bath Project. Walls Benjamin Moore Cloud White in Satin. Trim Benjamin Moore Cloud White in Semigloss. Ceilings Benjamin Moore Simply White in Satin. Doors Benjamin Moore Boothbay Gray in Semi-gloss.

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8 thoughts on “A Charming Refresh for A Traditional & Bright Primary Bathroom

  1. Great work! This is so beautifully redone. I love how bright and spa-like it is now. You really made it look so much bigger and more welcoming.

  2. How did the tiles come out? We are thinking about doing the same (cutting the 12×24) but are nervous about the cut edge!

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